The battle of Gloster Hill Korea 1951

This letter and pictures (if I can get them posted.) Were sent to a Korean Ranger, who was a POW, during the war in Korea. He passed it on for dissemination to other Korean War Rangers. I thought many here might enjoy them as well.

From letter:

"I just found an ex comrade who had some decent photos and I've attached them. MAD-16 (nothing to do with the loony bin - the guys name is Mick A Dellow) is of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. Some of these lads would have been fellow POWs with you from whom you would have picked up strange pronunciation of the Queen's English. An English film star called Michael Caine was a Private in the RNF in Korea (before he was a film star, of course).

In MAD-18 Col. Carr VC was a POW. You may recall the battle of Gloster Hill where the Regiment fought a rearguard action to delay the Chinese from getting to Seoul. They lost a hell of a lot of men and what men were left after running out of ammo were taken prisoner.

MAD-19 are the "other ranks" (as we were quaintly referred to) who were proudly marching from the troopship at Southampton. You may have known a few of these lads.

MAD-22 These Black Watch were on the Hook in November '52 three days before this photo was taken and one of our tanks was called up to the top of the hill to support them. Taff Lewis, the driver, was badly wounded when a bazooka hit the front of the tank. Williamson the Wireless Operator pulled Lewis through into the turret and reversed the tank back down the hill to offload Lewis and get a replacement driver.

They used to call Lewis "The Beast" on account of his body hair. They got him out of the tank onto a stretcher to take him to the Aid Post but after falling off three times due to the incoming shells he said, "Bugger this, I'll walk". And with that he gathered his protruding guts into his arms and walked up to see the medics.

After a cup of tea (how English can you get?) the new driver, Bill Ward, started back up the hill. On the way the tank caught fire around the gun mounting. Williamson climbed out of the turret and in full view of the enemy snipers he tackled the blaze jumped back in the tank and they continued along the ridge before going over the top so the gun could point down the other side.They stayed there all night blasting away as attack after attack came at the Black Watch trenches. They had one of these big US search lights mounted on the main gun which helped the crew to see but it also gave the enemy something to shoot at. There were search lights shining on them from other hill tops in the rear which also lit up the tank. By the next morning the Chinese finally gave up and a platoon of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry came and cleared up the remnants.

I was talking on the phone to Ron 'grouch's Marks the other day. He was the tank gunner on that night. He recalled that as the tank prepared to reverse back over the hill the Infantrymen formed two lines either side of the tank as it pulled away over the hill. No saluting or cheering or hand clapping. Just a silent gesture that said good job - well done. The commander of the tank was Lt. Michael Anstice son of an Admiral. He was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery and leadership in action.

MAD-24 These lads were from my home town of Halifax in Yorkshire, Where the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment have a barracks. They took part in the third battle of the Hook in March 1953. They were supported by the 1st Royal Tank Regiment. My brother was in that regiment. The Chinese really wanted to capture this feature to establish the hill top overlooking the Samichon Valley before the ceasefire was signed.

I read a very good book which was written by J. D. Hollands who was a 2nd. Lieutenant in the 'Dukes'. He took part in that battle. But he had to fight just as hard against his superior officers who lived up to the title of another famous book about the 1914-18 war entitled "Lions led by donkeys". After reading Hollands' book all I can say is that I was glad I wasn't in the Infantry. It would be nice if you could get that book from your local library. It would give you a better insight into the way the British army works.

Best regards

Your "Mucker" Stan"


Mad 16








Great pictures Trip.

I reckon that last one should go in "search for an ally star".
I think MAD-18 also shows the Gosters' adjutant - Anthony Farrar-Hockley who ended up as a General and whose book on the Imjin battle and his time as a POW is a classic.

Colonel Carne's comment on his release"The food was rotten and I was damn bored" is one of the best examples of a stiff upper lip that I've heard of.
In MAD-22, why are they all wearing their steel helmets backwards? Is it to make them look more like the US helmet, to keep the sun out of their eyes, or was that the Korean War definition of 'ally'?
oldnotbold said:
I think MAD-18 also shows the Gosters' adjutant - Anthony Farrar-Hockley who ended up as a General and whose book on the Imjin battle and his time as a POW is a classic.
Colonel Carne's comment on his release"The food was rotten and I was damn bored" is one of the best examples of a stiff upper lip that I've heard of.
I believe this book is titled 'The Edge of the Sword'
According to one book, when in the POW camp Carne was interrogated by the Chinese, apparently trying to brainwash him into becoming a communist. Big mistake. One day his men were listening outside the hut as his Chinese interrogator finally tripped him up on an argument.

'You make mistake! You make mistake!'

Carnes reply was devastating.

'I am a British Officer. I dont make mistakes'.


Nice find of the photos, thanks for upping them.
Top pictures, especially MAD-18. I had spotted 'Horror Fuckley' too - but couldn't help noticing the cadets lining the route. They knew how to stand to attention in those days.
Re post number one; Michael Cain was in a film called "A Hill in Korea". I have a copy of it on video. His is the very last name in the credits.
I had the Privalage of living in the Glosters Sgts mess twice in my time.
In the mid 70's at Minden, most of the old seniors remembered Col Carne and Farra the Para with kind thoughts.
Good Mess and a good County Regt.
In those days Regimental Members used to Spit on the Mess Floor, if for any reason they had to mention the Hamsters.
Here in Chiang Mai we still have an ex Duke, Colour Sgt, who served in Korea at the Hook.
No 2 in line of march in the Mad-18 image seems to be the Gloster Adjt Farrar Hockley. His book - The Edge of the Sword - re the fighting and his captivity and numerous escapes is tremendous reading (In April 1951, at the height of the Korean War, Chinese troops advanced south of the 38th parallel towards a strategic crossing-point of the Imjin River on the invasion route to the South Korean capital of Seoul. The stand of the 1st Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment, against the overwhelming numbers of invading troops has since passed into British military history. In "The Edge of the Sword", General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley, then Adjutant of the Glosters, has painted a vivid and accurate picture of the battle as seen by the officers and soldiers caught up in the middle of it. The book does not, however, end there. Like the majority of those who survived, the author became a prisoner-of-war, and the book continues with a remarkable account of his experiences in and out of Chinese prison camps. This book is not an attempt at a personal hero-story, and it is certainly not a piece of political propaganda. It is, above all, an amazing story of human fortitude and high adventure)
Cracking photos. The reason for the Mk.III helmets being worn back to front may be that some of the troops appear to be wearing OG bush hats underneath them - poss. to keep the sun out of their eyes?
My favourite Imjin River story (read this one at the IWM, in a display about Korea):
At the height of the battle, when the Glosters were taking a serious pasting, Lt.Col.Carne called his remaining officers & SNCOs together for an O Group. He suggested to the Drum Major that he get his buglers to play some bugle calls, to try & make the Chinese think more Glosters were left than actually were.
D/Major: "What calls do you want them to play, Sir?"
Lt.Col.Carne: "Anything except Retreat!"
As the last poster said, a true story of high adventure & one in the eye for anybody who ever said National Servicemen were useless. They really proved themselves that day.
Lieutenant Colonel Carne VC DSO - heck of a guy. Met a Major Harvey MC of the GLOSTERS while he was still serving who, I believe, commanded the company that managed to fight their way out of the encircling Chinese.

The KIA, MIA and WIA figures for some regiments who served in that forgotten war are food for thought as is the pay of a National Serviceman from that period - 28 shillings per week (GBPounds1.40pence)!

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